By Michele C. Hollow
A patient placed a blanket over his head to keep everyone away. He rocked in his seat while a string quartet from the Lima Symphony Orchestra set up in a room at Mercy Health–Saint Rita’s Medical Center in Lima, Ohio. As the musicians played, the man listened intently, removed the blanket, and began to let go of his fears and panic. The quartet is part of the orchestras Healing Through Music program, designed for people struggling with mental illnesses and opioid addiction. Its one of an increasing number of programs run by orchestras in the United States that bring music to people with mental illnesses. Many of these programs educate the public about mental health issues and they also can help some musicians destigmatize their own mental health diagnoses.